REALTOR luncheons: Chili Bar

I did a luncheon for this gorgeous home I have listed (shameless plug):

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It was so well attended, and I’ll tell you why.  The secret is to MAKE lunch.  Well, that and you have to get the word out.  But people will come if you actually MAKE your food instead of getting a Subway tray and a grocery store bakery tray of cookies.  That’s my story, anyway.  The other secret is to give away free stuff.  Angela Gribbins, you won the Fandango Gift card.

So I had the idea for a chili bar because it was cold the day I did the luncheon.  We had two types of chili, baked potatoes and corn muffins and brownies with white frosting.  The toppings I had were tortilla chips, corn chips, shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped onions and tomatoes, jalapenos and soup crackers.

The first chili I served was White Chicken Chili.  I got the recipe off of the Pinterest and it was really delicious.  You can get the recipe here: Add a Pinch

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I also served a traditional chili.  It was really really delicious.  The secret was to cook it low and slow on the stove for hours, not the short time suggested here.  If it gets thick, hit it with some beef broth.

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I also made these yummy muffins: Vidalia Onion Cornbread from Paula Deen.  They were soooo good!  They were delicious and so…dare I use the word…MOIST!  Ugh, that word, but they were.  I found this recipe on Diary of a Recipe Collector.

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Dessert.  Everyone was crazy about those frosted brownies.  I cut them small because they were pretty rich.  Ready for the recipe?  Get your pen and paper…

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Restaurant Review: Rooster’s Southpark

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If you haven’t been to Rooster’s in a while, do yourself a favor and get over there.  We decided to go after a chef friend recommended it so highly.  She told us that the Executive Chef, Zack Renner, was amazing and that they served her farm’s pork.  That’s all she had to say, we were there.

We reserved a table for 8 so they put us in a room that looked like it might once have been the hallway of a small strip mall.  BUT they’d doctored it up with pretty twinkle lights and a nice fountain in the middle.  And then there was this adorable pig door holder we were all entranced with…and we weren’t alone.  A few people stopped to take pictures of Porky.

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Our waitress was so kind and deftly handled our large(ish) group by giving us suggestions, fixing drinks when we weren’t satisfied and delivering the bad news about dessert.  The management also stopped by a time or two to make sure our night was going well..which it very much was.

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Cocktails are the best way to begin Girl Nosh.  Rooster’s has a fine selection of wine, brews and mixed drinks.  This one (I forget the name) was muddled cucumbers, raspberry and gin.  I have to admit it wasn’t for me, but others at the table found it refreshing and light.

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To soak up all of this alcohol, they brought us an assortment of delicious baked breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bread was hearty and delicious.  Very nutty.

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Housemade bresaola.  I didn’t try, but doesn’t it look great?

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The French Onion soup was not one of my favorite soups.  It was hearty, but not as flavorful as it should have been for such murky and dark broth.  I didn’t opt for it on my second visit.

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The salads were all so fresh and dressed perfectly.  This one was on their daily offerings page, meaning it was what was fresh at the farmer’s market:  Whole romaine leaves topped with walnuts, tangerine slices and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  Perfect.

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The next salad was baby arugula, chopped pears and chevre cheese. Yum!

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My salad was a wedge.  I don’t know why I’m not more adventurous.  I just love a wedge.  And this one was perfect.  The cold, crispy iceberg lettuce topped with creamy, tangy blue cheese dressing is a comfort food.  This one had some pickled red onions on top that were both sweet and tart, and really gave the salad a punch!

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When you go to Rooster’s, you must have something that was wood-fired or wood-grilled.  Shannon got the salmon, and it was perfectly cooked…charred on the outside and tender on the inside.  She was so happy with her choice!

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Other dishes I didn’t try but were reported to be delicious:  Wood-Fired Joyce Farms Natural Chicken.  Laurie said it was tender, full of flavor and really juicy.  

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Anessa got roasted veal with mushrooms and blue potatoes.  It sat in a deliciously flavored jus and drizzled with aioli.  Perfection.

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One of the best dishes for the night was Jennifer’s braised beef short rib.  Tender as a a slow-roasted pot roast, but packed with flavor.  The meat just melted in your mouth!

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I have mixed feelings about my entree.  I got the fried oysters, and while they were perfectly delicious: crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside with a nice briny flavor, I’d come to a restaurant that has “wood-fired” in its name and didn’t get something from the grill.  Supremely stupid.  You can get oysters at a fish camp.  Stick with something with the taste of fire.

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Have you ever seen a cheeseburger that looked this yummy?  And shoestring onion rings to accompany.  That’s not even fair.

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Amazingly simple spaghetti.  Perfectly balanced and flavored.

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Buttery seared scallops.  Oh my.

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You know, sometimes side dishes are predictable or dialed in.  An afterthought.  At Rooster’s the sides are at center stage alongside the entrees.  All sides here are designed for two people, but are so good you may not want (or be able) to share.

The fried corn should be your first choice.  It’s real corn.  Not from a can.  And it is pan-fried with spices that make is lip-smacking good.

The stone ground grits are another perfect choice.  Little nuggets of corny goodness are buried in them and there is plenty of heavy cream to make them rich and velvety.

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One of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth was the wood-fired sunchoke.  It sure didn’t look like much more than a ginger root when it came to the table, but the taste was amazing.  When I saw the word “sunchoke” I immediately conjured images or the artichoke.  The sunchoke, however, is a tuber, like a potato.  It was creamy and had a little bit of sweetness to it.  The wood firing brought out a nuttiness in it as well.  Very complex for such a simple dish.  One of my favorites for the night!

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Another favorite is this mess 🙂  This is a mix of mushrooms, which is probably one of my favorite foods in the world.  The table agreed that these were a favorite.  They were lightly seasoned and gently cooked, so their true flavors shown through.

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Macaroni and cheese: soupy and creamy…yum!!

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By the time we were done eating, most of the tables around us were empty.  And they’d take our top dessert choice with them: the coconut cake.  We didn’t let that stop us, though.  We all ordered the back up dessert which was an apple tarte.  The waitress called it something else, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what that was.  To describe it I’d say it was dried apples (re-hydrated, of course) placed atop a buttery and light croissant crust.  It was accompanied by a scoop of vanilla bean gelato and a spill of rich caramel sauce.  Even though apples aren’t my favorite dessert fruit, this reminded me of the fried pies my grandmother used to make.  The apples had a tart but sweet taste and were very soft.  The crust wasn’t overly sweet, so it was perfect with the gelato and the caramel.  Decadent and delicious!

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Chocolate Milkshake:  Runny and chocolately, just like I like it.

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We at Girl Nosh all agreed that this was one of our favorite places we’d been to.  That’s saying something, because we’ve been to some fine restaurants.  You will need a reservation, but you can make them on OpenTable.com.  Go on and get that done now.  You are welcome.

Rooster's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aix en Provence: French Cuisine for the Queen City

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Girl Nosh went French last night.  And we are definitely going back.  And very quickly let me apologize for the poor quality of these photos.  I took a photo with the flash and got an evil glare from another diner, so I had to abort the idea of great photos.  Good manners and all.

Aix en Provence is an intimate restaurant seating 56 on Providence Road in Charlotte in the spot that was once Terra.  I wanted to try it because Open Table had it ranked #1 in their Diner’s Choice awards.  I can see why, it is fancy without being too pretentious.  It’s an experience where I felt pampered and important, but not stilted and stuffy.  I loved it, and this is exactly what a fine dining experience should be.

A little background: Our server was actually one of the owners of the restaurant.  He was so knowledgeable and precise I just knew he was invested somehow, and his professionalism was evident throughout our entire meal.  He gave us recommendations that all turned out to be wonderful choices.  Each course was better than the last.  Bryan (that’s the server, we got on a first name basis as one does) gave us a brief history of the evolution of Aix en Provence.  They opened in December of 2015, just barely making a showing at the end of the year.  His business partner and co-owner worked at Lumière and with some globally renowned chefs like Daniel Boulud and Scott Conant .  Perhaps more importantly, he’s actually from France.

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While they have an extensive wine list, we opted for the cocktail that Brian recommended to us: L’eveilleur.  So refreshing and citrus-y!  He graciously gave us the recipe, too!  It’s 1.5 oz St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur muddled with a slice of orange, lemon, lime and 3 basil leaves (muddled to a fine pulp), strained into a martini glass and top with champagne, garnish with a basil leaf.  I had two and I was feeling pretty good.

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An unexpected treat arrived with the crusty bread and European butter: an Amuse Bouche!  That roughly translates to a bite sized hors d’oeuvre (saw that on Top Chef) and they are all the rage now.  This one was stelline pasta mixed with anchovy, capers and olive oil.  It was briny and packed a flavorful punch in that single bite.  A great start to our fabulous meal!

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The Octopus a la Plancha was a scattering of gently charred Octopus with a sampling of coulis: sunchoke, hearts of palm and cilantro.  The octopus wasn’t tough or chewy, instead it was pillowy soft.  The coulis were rich and packed with flavor.  Perfect and beautiful to look at.

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The Escargot was similarly tender.  I’ve never had them when they weren’t the slightest bit chewy, but these were soft with just the right amount of chew.  They were baked in an herb butter and topped with these tiny mounds of puff pastry.  I had to use the bread from the table to soak up the herb butter, it was too good to leave.

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The Lyonnaise salad is so simple, it shouldn’t be as good as it is. But every single aspect of this salad was executed perfectly.  The fresh frisee lettuce is dressed simply with a light vinaigrette, and when you cut into the poached egg, the egg yolk adds a richness to the tart dressing.  Stab a piece of the fried lardon and it is bliss.  We all laughingly called the lardons “meat candy.”

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The Squid Ink Gnocchi was a (for us) out on a limb, but there was no need to fear; it was perfectly delicious as promised.  The gnocchi were very tender and the squid ink gave it just a hint of the ocean, but the apple slices perfectly balanced the squid ink and the lump crab.  It was topped with a celeriac creme, all frothy and wonderful.

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The Bouillabaisse Marseillaise was recommended by our server.  All of this perfectly cooked seafood: fresh fish, poached lobster, mussels and clams, just sitting on a bed of celeriac and potatoes lying in a pool of the most delicious saffron broth infused with the flavor of the seafood.  It was topped with a slice of bread spread with some divine sauce, which I used to sop up the broth.  Perfect, tender seafood, each mouthful was a delight.

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If you want to eat a decadent Chocolate Souffle’, I will warn you, you are going to wait.  But, like all good things…you know the rest.  This is no exception.  It was more than delicious.  It was beautiful, it was silky, it was…luxurious.  Though I love chocolate, this is the first time I’ve ever had a chocolate souffle’.  I could be base and say it reminded me of a molten lava cake, but it wouldn’t be true.  The differences are huge to the discerning palate.  And to me.  Perhaps the most exciting thing was when the owner came out in front of our faces, made a hole in the center with a spoon (he took it away, too, he didn’t leave that messy spoon for us to use. Classy move) and poured in the most amazing vanilla cream.  I just wanted a cup of that to sip with my chocolate.  It was so rich, I just couldn’t finish it.  I brought it home and it was a different kind of delicious right out of the fridge at midnight.  Just like my hero Nigella.

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We also sampled the Apple Tart Tatin.  It was described to us as the French version of Grandma’s apple pie.  Lies.  My grandmothers are all awesome cooks, but this…oh.  This is fancy, compact and hugely packed with flavor.  Every single element of the dessert was executed perfectly. The crust was flaky, not soggy.  The apples were tender but still somewhat crisp.  And the syrup was sweet but not sickly.  All perfect, all delicious.  Together, bliss.

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The Girl Nosh group goes out to eat every month.  And we normally go somewhere fancy and noteworthy.  This restaurant, we all agreed, was one of our very favorite trips. We will be back soon!

Aix En Provence Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Junkee cooks for Girl Nosh!

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One of our Girl Nosh members is married to a chef.   We kept saying when I got the house ready, we were going to hire Food Junkee (aka Joe Byrd) to cook dinner for us in-house (instead of our usual fancy restaurants) so we could linger and enjoy each other’s company for a little longer than normal without getting the side eye.

Joe arrived about an hour early to set up.  He had most of the food prepared and ready to be served.  He did prepare some dishes on site and they were so so amazing.  Everything was.  And at the end of the night, all of my guests retired into the dining room to play a raucous card game and not worry about clean up.  Seriously best night of my life.

Dinner

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Here’s the spread…all spread out.  I wanted you to have a view of how lovely it all looks in the deep bowls, filled to the brim with goodness.  Each dish is described below.

Appetizers
Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa is what we first sampled as Joe set up the spread for my friends.  The crispy chips were freshly made, warm and dusted with salty lime flavors that were perfect against the sweet heat of the salsa.  I think we ate a gallon.  Seriously.

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Joe also had some leftover Spinach and Artichoke Dip from stuffing our chicken, so he brought that along to serve with the extra tortilla chips.  So creamy and tangy.  I could live on it.

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Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce was the best-loved appetizer by the masses.  Assembled and fried on site, these little nuggets were filled with a spicy pork mixture and finely chopped vegetables.  Unlike your favorite take-out Chinese spot, these were FULL of meat, and not filler.  The apricot dipping sauce was sweet with just enough bite to make you come back for more. 

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Two of my favorite dishes rolled into one: Pan-Fried Spinach-n-Artichoke Dip Stuffed Chicken.  First, the chicken is stuffed with this creamy indulgence, then rolled in bread crumbs and delicately pan-fried.  The chicken was so tender and juicy and let’s just be honest: you can put that dip on anything and it will make it 100% better.  It’s my favorite thing in the world.

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The most vibrant side dish we enjoyed was the Honey Ginger Glazed Carrots with Pistachios.  These buttery little gems were fragrant and still had a little bite to them.  As you can see by the slight char on them, they were roasted first, which caramelized their natural sugars and deepened their flavors, if possible.  These were probably the most popular side of the night, not a single leftover!

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You don’t like peas?  You just haven’t tried Joe’s Indian Spiced Peas.  Spiked with Indian spices, diced onions and minced garlic; just perfectly matched the sweet peas with a little bit of heat.  How can I go back to Lesueur peas after this?

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The Asian Glazed Mushrooms were so flavorful and substantial that we didn’t even need a starch.  They were sautéed in butter and slowly allowed to simmer in that Asian glaze that was maddeningly delicious and just different enough to make you feel like you were experiencing this side for the first time.  Can you tell they were my favorites?

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Most people get one dessert.  Not us.  We got two.  And I can’t even tell you which one was better, they were both amazing and rich.  The first was a Chocolate Chip Kahlua Cheesecake.  This is kind of Joe’s signature dessert.  At least, the number of us who’d had it before requested (begged) him to bring it for Girl Nosh.  He doesn’t disappoint.  A chocolatey rich cake bottom topped with creamy and sweet cheesecake with tiny shards of chocolate chips, all accented by the Kahlua.  And look how pretty:

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The Cast Iron Apple Brown Betty with Homemade Almond Ice Cream was a special treat for all of us.  First of all, making a dessert in a cast iron skillet?  Too rustic, too cool.  We were all so enraptured.  Then Megan sprang her homespun ice cream (made right in my kitchen while the cobbler baked!) on us and we all ate until we were sick.  No regrets.  And that was the end to our perfect evening.

Now, for the plug.  Joe and Megan are my friends.  BUT I cannot recommend their services more highly.  Joe is a personal chef who not only caters events but also prepares meals for families on a weekly basis.  Seriously, it isn’t much more than Blue Apron per meal to do this and you get to pick EXACTLY what you want.  Just check them out.  You won’t be sorry!

Recipe: Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

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Birthdays are big deals in my house.  You get to choose a home-cooked meal of your choice or a restaurant dinner of your choosing.  My brother-in-law, David, is so awesome (pictured with my gorgeous sister above).  He put in so many man hours on my new home, all for free.  So, when his birthday rolls around and he says he wants a lasagna dinner, I make it my business to make a sauce for the lasagna that is simmered all day, and finally baked into a lasagna.

So, while loads of my recipes are quick, this one isn’t.  But if you have a day to hang around the house, while your sauce gently bubbles on the stovetop, make this.  So.worth.it.

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Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

“This sauce must be cooked for 2 hours or even more is even better! the first hour covered then the last uncovered. If possible prepare this sauce one day in advance and refrigerated, it will increase the flavor. This is a very hearty sauce, you can also add in a can or plum tomatoes, chopped and drained if desired.”

INGREDIENTS

    • 3 -5 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
    • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes ( you can add in more to taste)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 lb ground veal
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
    • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth ( or beef consomme for an even richer flavor)
    • 1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
    • whipped cream (optional)
    • parmesan cheese
    • cooked pasta

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.

Add in the diced bacon and saute until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).

Add in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, basil, dryed pepper flakes and bay leaves; saute for about 5-6 minutes.

Add in tomato paste; cook stiring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Then add in the ground veal and pork; cook until cooked through and well browned (about 12 minutes, the meat should be BROWNED well!).

Add in the wine then simmer for about 8 minutes uncovered.

Add in the broth and crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often with a wooden spoon.

Uncover and season with salt and pepper; simmer for another hour or more (uncovered).

If you prefer a creamy sauce, add in about 1/4 cup whipping cream towards the end of cooking.

Serve over cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

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Now use that sauce to make your favorite lasagna recipe.  Here’s one of mine:  Lasagna Suzanne

Restaurant Review: Aria Tuscan Grill

May Girl Nosh was at Aria Tuscan Grill in Uptown Charlotte.  We were a small group this time, but the restaurant was jammed with prom-goers.  It made for some very interesting people watching.  I saw a lot of first time high-heel wearers.  Good times.  Anyway, here’s the girls:
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Our waiter greeted us and brought us some chilled water in a bottle for the table.  He gave us the option of sparkling water and Pellegrino (same thing?) and we all felt like cheapskates for saying that plain old tap water was fine.  But gah.  Who wants to splurge on water?  Save your pennies, and order a cocktail.

With the free water (which was just fine, by the way) they brought out the free appetizers:  White bean spread with fresh Italian bread.  Some of the folks at our table didn’t really love the white beans, but I did.  They were tangy with a splash of vinegar and minced onions and herbs and creamy when spread on the bread.  Drizzle with olive oil and you have a winner.

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Here’s what you were saving those pennies for:  D.S.L.  No idea what it stands for, but lord was it good.  It was a mix of Limoncello, Prosecco, Muddled Fresh Mint and Strawberry Purée.  How I found this was by asking the waiter which drink was the least strong.  Because I’m a wimp and I was driving.  This is the answer.  To lots of questions, I found out.

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For the paid appetizers, we all agreed to get something different so we could try each other’s.  Anessa got the Calamari Fritti.  This was a lightly fried mix of Calamari sticks and Scallions which were garnished with Peppadew Peppers.  The two dipping sauces were Spicy Tomato Sauce and Lemon Aioli.  I don’t know which I liked better.  The spicy tomato sauce packed a flavorful punch, but the aioli was subtle and creamy.  The calamari itself was lightly fried, not overcooked, but we missed those weird tentacle thingies.  Still, a favorite at the table.

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Heirloom Tomato Caprese features Burrata, Basil Pesto and the freshest heirloom tomatoes.  Skinny girl treat.

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Another skinny girl treat was the Asparagus + Prosciutto Tender braised asparagus served alongside a lightly dressed Spring Salad with a Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette with Prosciutto.  A splash of balsamic vinegar adorned all.  Laurie was pleased as punch with her choice.  She said it was so fresh and light.

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Eggplant Parmigiana 
You expect it to be fried, but just tryyyy it like this.  Seriously.  It was so good and fresh, and the Tomato Marinara that it swims in is so spicy and good.  Sitting atop is Mozzarella, Olives, Peppadew Peppers, Basil and it all somehow works together amazingly.  And look at the cool plate.

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Caramelized Gnocchi 
I always ask the waiter what his favorite dish is.  Very rarely am I steered wrong by the person who has tried everything on the menu and consistently brings food to patrons night after night.  So, when he recommended this, no brainer.  If you could get a bite with all 5 elements: Gnocchi, Prosciutto di Parma, Pear, Gorgonzola, Truffle Oil, you would hear the sound of angels and a light would emit from your mouth.  Not even exaggerating.

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Tuscan Red Wine Braised Beef Short Rib 
If you’ve never had short rib, you might not realize that when braised it tastes just like pot roast.  But really tender, and so flavorful.  This one sat atop an English Pea Risotto, ringed with plops of Goat Cheese and garnished with Brussel Sprout Chips.  It was so rich and hearty.  I’ll get that next time.

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My choice for dinner was a special.  It was Grilled beef tenderloin, Caesar style potatoes & Swiss chard.  I had to send mine back because the steak was too rare for me (cold red center, blech) but they brought it back a few minutes later and it was perfect.  OK, still pretty red on that far right one, so I didn’t eat it.  But the rest was very delicious.  The meat was so tender, and seasoned perfectly.  I LOVED the small little potato coins and the parmesan sauce they were in.  Also, I never knew I loved Swiss chard so much.
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Roasted Arctic Char
Anessa got this dish, and because it was cooked so rare I could not taste it to report to you.  I will just tell you that it was perched upon Roasted Eggplant  and topped with Shaved Fennel Citrus Salad with a Walnut Vinaigrette,  She said it was cooked perfectly and delicious. But she left a lot of that eggplant on the plate, suspiciously.

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OK, so the polenta is a side dish, but I have to mention it because it is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  Creamy, buttery goodness.  I mean, just look at that lake of butter in this dish.  Sinful.  Amazing.

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Crispy Chicken Parmigiana 
We all know what this is, and it might be an unimaginative choice.  I can’t help it, it’s still an old favorite.  And when done well, like it is here with fresh Mozzarella and the spicy Marinara you sincerely can’t go wrong.  Simple and good.ariachickenparm

Spaghetti + Meatballs 
Mimo’s Meatballs, Red Sauce, Parmigiano:  Another classic that can’t miss.  Honestly, this was from another visit, and I never tasted it, but my dining companion said it was fine.

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Pasta al Nero 
King Crab, Scallops, Shrimp, Linguine, Spicy Marinara:  This was another of our waiter’s recommendations.  And was it spot on.  The shrimp were huge and cooked perfectly.  The crab was delicate as were the scallops, but the scallops were just on the undercooked side.  I’m sure bay scallops are hard to get exactly right since so small, but there you go.  The squid ink linguine was an unexpected surprise, but I didn’t taste any difference between it and regular pasta.
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Orecchiette with Sausage 
Toasted Garlic, Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Red Peppers, Chiles:  Another dish enjoyed on another visit.  My dining companion said this one was simply “Ok”.

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Aria Tiramisù 6
Espresso, Lady Fingers, Mascarpone Crema:  Is this not the most beautifully rustic dessert you’ve ever seen in your life?  And guess what?  It tasted just as good as it looked!  The coffee soaked lady-fingers were perfect; not too strong and not too wet.  The fresh cream was perfect and made for a light end to a delicious meal.13221704_1723691334580311_1064938938907246289_n

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake 
White Chocolate Crema:  And then there’s this.  Dense.  Chocolaty. Rich.  Hazelnutty.  If you like Nutella, you’ll love this.

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So, there you have it.  Aria.  It’s delicious.  I will say that both visits we had an issue with service.  Not a big big big deal, but our waiter was a little annoyed with us and was a little absent.  The owner did come over and chat with us about his friends in Lincolnton, so that was a nice touch.  Even with the snooty waiter, I’d go back.  Everything we ate was delicious last night.

Aria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Super Soul Sunday with Suzanne

It’s been a very long year.  I’ve faced personal struggles I never imagined would come my way.  Lost people I truly loved.  Said goodbye to a life I knew since I was 16.  Said hello to a relationship with God that I’ve never imagined would come my way.  Finished a house.

The weekend I decided my marriage was over, my first thought was that I wouldn’t lose it.  I actively sought ways to heal myself quickly, because I had so much facing me:  kids who looked at me with concern and a need for normalcy, a new job to support the three of us, a surgery I’d go through alone for the first time since the wreck, dealing with my broken heart, trying to finish a home started on 2 salaries and now having only one and finally, but the biggest: intense anger.  That one was and is the hardest for me to overcome.  But I needed it to happen quickly.  Ha.  First lesson: nothing happens “quickly.”

“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.”

Brave Enough – Cheryl Strayed

Here we are one year later.  As I do every morning now (for the last week), I grabbed my protein bar and my glass of milk and headed to the deck to do my bible study before the day begins.  The text goes off; it’s him but my stomach doesn’t clinch.  I’m in my peaceful place, “trying to get right with the Lord” and listening to the ducks, the geese, the crickets…and the cats.  I think I’ve made it.  I closed my eyes, leaned my head back and realized that I was indeed okay.

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But peace has been elusive to me, and fleeting.  It really made me angry at myself that I could still be hurt or made angry by things I saw posted, things that were said to me, things I saw.  But I realized today that I’m not Jesus.  I’m a flawed human who is privy to these unflattering feelings and emotions.  So today I’m going to forgive myself for still being able to be hurt and get angry.  And realize that this is all part of my becoming.

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This book, Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, is awesome.  So helpful.  So empowering.  I’m going to leave you with the quote that changed my way of thinking, and that help put out that fire of anger and even self-righteousness.  Maybe it will help someone else?

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Inspired by: Worn Corners